Maple roasted roots with Stilton & walnuts

Posted in: N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Loaded with winter goodness, this is a crowd pleaser for carnivore and vegetarian guests alike. Served at room temperature, it has a particularly special place in my heart for allowing me to prep in advance so I can focus my efforts on the perfect mulled wine. I’ve done a mix of veggies here, but you can equally double up on sweet potatoes and drop all other roots. I’ve opted for an orange dressing with stilton and walnuts for a nod to the festive season, but feel free to sub for your favourites.

Maple-roasted-roots

Feeds 6 as side

INGREDIENTS

3 sweet potatoes
4 medium sized carrots
4 beetroot
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric (for anti-bacterial gut health)
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt
70g stilton or blue cheese
Fistful / 50g walnuts, lightly dry toasted in a pan or oven – a couple of mins
1 tbsp dried cranberries

Dressing

Juice of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
Himalayan pink or sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp crushed, dried chillies – optional

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Slice carrots and sweet potatoes lengthways into wedges and beetroot into quarters. Line, skin side down onto a baking tray and roast for approx. 35 mins, gently turning the veg a couple of times throughout. You’re aiming for crispy wedges; soft in the centre with slightly charred edges.

Roast-veg-prep

Set aside the veg to cool slightly – you don’t want them to turn to mush by adding the citrus and olive oil too quickly. Mix the dressing ingredients.

In a large bowl gently combine the dressing with the veg (I use my hands). At this stage, you can set aside in the fridge for the flavours to develop.

When ready to eat / prep, transfer veg to a large platter, layering with the cheese, cranberries and nuts. Topping with parsley also adds colour and freshness.

Serve as a main for vegetarians and / or alongside your turkey or meat of choice.

Coconut iced coffee

Posted in: DF, Featured, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Apparently The Garcia’s can’t have a conversation without the subject of coffee making an appearance. Bad coffee being the cause of untold dismay, it seems. Iced coffee, however, can redeem many an ‘operator error’, tasting as robust and sweetly creamy as any passionately barista’d flat white. I’ve given measures for one glass but tend to make a batch for the fridge, topping up with coconut milk and ice for my morning wake up addiction. On a recent Indian holiday, I ‘encouraged’ friends at Old Harbour Hotel and Kashi Art Cafe to do the same; Kerala means Land of Coconuts after all. And a new menu fixture was born.

Coconut-iced-coffee

Feeds 1

INGREDIENTS

1-2 shots espresso, depending how strong you like your coffee
1 tsp raw honey – optional
1 cup coconut milk – you can also sub 1/3 for coconut water. Drop the honey if doing this.
Ice

METHOD

Make espresso and stir through honey until dissolved – otherwise it will sink to the bottom of your glass.

Drop in a few cubes of ice and shake or stir until coffee is cooled. Transfer to a glass, top with coconut milk and a couple more cubes of ice.

Rebel-kitchen

Rebel Kitchen have recently launched a take-away version that tastes almost identical, if a little sweeter. Perfect for a dairy and refined sugar-free caffeine kick on the go. I’ve done the chocolate mylk taste test with several friends and none can believe how good it tastes.

After a lifetime of a market saturated with nasty, additive and sugar laden Food-To-Go, it makes me very happy to see entrepreneurial guys like these popping up. Thank you Rebel Kitchen.

 

Clare’s spicy nuts

Posted in: DF, N, S, V, WF

I’ve been a bit of a scrooge with this recipe – it took a lot (!!) of amends to get the sticky, chilli clusters just right. However, I shared with a colleague, then another, and now Clare’s Spicy Nuts feature in the Gather & Gather marketing pack with said secret recipe launching across 250 restaurants. Humph.

spicy-nuts

Filling and packed with protein and goodness, nuts are an ideal snack. Snack being the operative word; mini portions are key! Don’t be put off by the biblically proportioned ingredients; they’re largely spices and prep takes all of 10 mins.

Ingredients

200g almonds
100g cashews
100g pecans
200g sunflower seeds
150g pumpkin seeds
2 egg whites
4 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp crushed chillies
1 tsp chipotle / smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°C / 390°F. Whisk egg whites to form soft peaks.

Stir through spices and nuts, followed by honey and brown sugar.

Transfer to a baking tray, or two (keeping to one layer of nuts for even toasting) and cook for 20 mins, or till the nuts have browned. Stir  half way through for even toasting.

I like to keep in a kilner jar to dip into mid-morning or as a pre dinner party snack.

Check out Storehouse Seducer Almonds for more reasons to snack on Spicy nuts – think anti-oxidants, vitamins, fibre, magnesium, cholesterol & GI lowering; the benefits are endless.

The Gift Guide Top 5

It’s that time of year again; we’ve hit December and already passed the busiest online shopping day of the year apparently. Well versed in the art of shopping, I thought it only fitting I share my failsafe food inspired gift guide, hopefully taking some trauma out of your Santa duties.

Christmas-gift-tags

 

The coolest cookie cutters

Sunnyside-Eggs

I have a sneeking suspicion the sunshine eggs could be a bit of a faff; maybe one to delegate to your sous chef / spouse / kids. You can always thank them with some Made with Love cookies.

Sunyside eggs £7.95 from Rocket St George and Made with Love cookie stamp £6.00 from Anthropologie.

 

4th Wave Coffee at home

V60-Coffee-Machine

One morning spent researching cafes and sampling espressos with Gather & Gather in house coffee guru, Paul Hallit and I came home with the above (essential) haul. We’re now entering the 4th wave in coffee apparently: Beyond independent cafes and single origin beans, it’s also about the science behind the perfect cup. Anyone who appreciates coffee will thank you for this kit, or simply some decent beans.

V60 coffee makers for single (01) and double cup (02) filter: From £35. You can also buy the V60 on its own to sit directly on your cup: From £20. Multiple options available from Brewed by Hand or Coffee Hit.

Union-&-All-Press-Coffee

Union Hand Roasted for a wide range of single origin beans (best for V60 brewing) as found in Gail’s Artisan Bakery, Harris & Hoole and Gather & Gather. Coffee from Shoreditch roaster All Press is also hard to beat.

 

Seggiano stars

Seggiano-Christmas-gifts

Seggiano. God of taste: flavour and design. Everything from panettone to olive oil, chocolate clementines to raw honey. Packaged so beautifully, wrapping paper wrestling is a thing of the past.

Available from Wholefoods or independent delis. Olive oil: £11.50. Honey: £8.50. Foraged tree: Free from Clapham Common.

 

Compulsory cookbooks

The-Flavour-Thesaurus-&-Ottolenghi,-Jerusalem

Momofuko-Milk-Bar-Cookbook

Two years in and these are still my failsafe classics. For the creative cook keen to go off piste: The masterpiece that is The Flavour Thesaurus. Jerusalem, the latest kitchen handbook by My Favourite Places Godfather, Yotam Ottolenghi is a must that no self respecting food lover should be without.

And for the adventurous: Milk of New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar fame, as recommended by uber chef and Gather & Gather colleague, Dan Rampat. Momofuku means Lucky Peach. Sold!

£10+ from Amazon

 

Spa scents

Diptyque-&-Jo-Malone

Because, as much as I love to cook, there are few kitchen smells I want to curl up on the sofa with. And let’s face it, smelling of Eau de Honey Roast Ham outside the kitchen is  offensive. End of.

Diptyque Baies and Jo Malone Grapefruit are clean classics guaranteed to win over the fussiest of recipients. At £40 neither candle comes cheap but the quality is second to none: dripping in perfume oils = stronger and longer lasting spa scents. RK Ridings does a huge selection of similar diffusers and candles at 1/3 of the price.

Space NK stock most of Diptyque’s range. Their online and customer service is super efficient and given their giant selection of Christmas gift ideas, this is a no brainer for filling your Santa sleigh. Jo Malone and RK Ridings stock direct.

 

Christmas mugs

Gold-trim-mugs,-Christmas

ANTA-TARTAN.mugs

ANTA-TARTAN

When all else fails, opt for a mug. 19 carat gold rim mug with horse design (obviously) and coffee cups you can bake in. Genius. In the spirit of giving, I’ve tested festive Orange, almond & chocolate cake in said super mugs.

Designer tartanry brand ANTA also do a range of throws and cushions as cozy as a Christmas jumper. Sign up for Tartan Tuesday (2 for 1 offers) and their Advent Calendar of daily discounts in the run up to Christmas.

Horse mug £20 from Rocket St George; Tartan cups £22 from ANTA.

 

Some more failsafe gift ideas

Best cookery courses: Ginger Pig butchery classRick Stein Seafood SchoolBread Ahead bakery school.

For Little Miss Fussy: Big rocks are in! Try Bex Rox or Aurelie Bidermann. The Outnet also has a wide range of heavily discounted designer jewellery (and clothes).

For kids: Cox & Cox have an inexhaustible selection of games and trinkets for kids of all ages.

For The Friend Who Has Everything: Diageo Brand Store offers a 6 ltr bottle of Ciroc vodka for £250. You can even have your own bespoke swing for a mere fifteen hundred quid.

 

From the streets: Seggiano acacia honey

Posted in: DF, LF, Reviews, S, Uncategorized, V, WF

God of taste: flavour and design, Seggiano sourcing is impeccable; scouring the land for the best Italy has to offer. This cold pressed, unfiltered and unpasteurized honey is bottled by beekeeper, Mauro Pagliaccia in Tuscany. The result: Ambrosia that compels you to never again torture your taste buds with the supermarket stuff.

Seggiano-raw-acacia-honey

Why cold press? Heat treating destroys the delicate antibiotics, enzymes and anti-bacterial qualities naturally found in honey. So not only does the raw variety taste infinitely better, it does you good and helps fight infection. True Wholesome Seduction.

In fact, so revered is this product, I blogged it as a stocking filler last Christmas (Please Santa…) and take it as a dinner party gift for my favourite friends.

Available from Wholefoods, Planet Organic or independent delis: £8.50. £1 off at Wholefoods now.

Please Santa…

Posted in: Reviews, Uncategorized

For those of you struck by the realisation that your pathological fear of Oxford street 4 days before Christmas, will do little to fill the gaping hole in your party season sleigh, turn to food. Because even those who have everything need to eat. Given my unfailing dedication to shopping and troffing, not to mention my ‘discerning taste’, I’m sharing my top 3 failsafes. For, if Little Miss Fussy is happy, then surely we’re onto a winner…

Seggiano Honey & Olive oil. Wholesome Seduction

Seggiano. God of taste: flavour and design. Everything from panettone to olive oil; chocolate clementines to honey, packaged so beautifully, wrapping paper wrestling is a thing of the past. Note: Seggiano’s acacia honey is a Storehouse seducer my cupboard is rarely without.

Available from Wholefoods or independent delis. Olive oil: £11.50. Honey: £8.50. Foraged tree: Free from Clapham Common.

 

ChristmasCoolies.WholesomeSeduction

Homemade. With bows on. Wrap brownies, truffles or cookies in greaseproof paper and Christmas ribbon for a Yuletide gift Kirsty Allsopp would be proud of. Add festive spice to chocolate recipes with some chilli or cardamom. Or stuff dates with almonds and dip in chocolate. Aunt Dorris will be overjoyed.

Noel ribbon £8 from Cox & Cox

 

FlavourThesaurus&Ottolenghi, Jerusalem

And last but in no ways least, the masterpiece that is The Flavour Thesaurus, our post from October last year. A staple and I’m sure, a classic no cook or food lover would sniff at. I’ve also added Our Favourite Places Godfather, Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest kitchen handbook that’s equally dedicated to coffee table style.

£10+ from Amazon

 

For those looking for a more extravagant gift, rumour has it Selfridges (and potentially the net…) is doing a Whisky Advent Calendar for a mere 150 quid. Drink your way through the doors to find a sample 50 year old Malt – full size bottle retailing at £350. Because what better Santa induction is there than getting smashed at breakfast…

Ho ho ho…. Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

Maple tahini

Posted in: DF, S, SF, V, WF

A dollop of this sesame seed powerhouse in a smoothie or bowl of yoghurt will not only give you a mineral hit, it’ll fill you up too.

Ingredients

2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Pour all ingredients into a sealable jar or container and mix thoroughly.
  2. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Tahini is sold in whole food and health shops (Holland & Barrett, Wholefoods etc) and most supermarkets, often in the World Foods aisle.